Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Wakefield-Bessemer US 2 stretch gets facelift


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U.S. 2 has been humming with activity as asphalt placement has begun this week between Wakefield and Bessemer.

According to Dan Weingarten, communications representative with Michigan's Department of Transportation, the $1.34 million project began on July 7 with gradual preparations for the current work along a 4.2-mile stretch.

"This project is preventive maintenance - designed to improve the ride quality and maintain fair and good condition roads," said Weingarten in a Thursday email from his Ishpeming office.

All five lanes are being resurfaced, one at a time, by prime contractor Payne and Dolan of Gladstone.

On Thursday afternoon, company representative Travis Dolan explained the project steps, which began in advance with a milling of lanes to level them for subsequent layers.

As each lane is now addressed, workers first spray tack, a sticky asphalt mix to act as a base coat. Asphalt is then applied, followed by three different rolling machines.

A hot roller follows the asphalt truck as a first measure, with a rubber-tire roller then working to improve the density of the pavement.

Dolan said he then operates a final, finish roller over the new pavement. "I just make it pretty," he said with a big grin.

Afterward, brushing machines address final touches by removing asphalt crumbles and gravel.

As other machinery traveled along the highway on Thursday, Dolan also was applying adhesive white stripes along the far right side of newly laid asphalt on the eastbound passing lane.

Meanwhile, regular traffic flowed on each of the outer highway lanes.

Dolan said that, with just a few more "good weather" days, the asphalt work will be done.

Weingarten added that additional road marking and finishing touches will continue for a short time afterward. Sept. 11 is MDOT's completion date.